Quit Claim Deed Causes Family Problems After Death

Q: My mother, brother and I were joint property owners of a home on 32 acres. The property is mortgage free.

Just before my Mother passed away my brother got her to sign (without my knowledge) a quit claim deed signing her part of the property to him.

I thought a quit claim deed just removed owners name off the property, dividing ownership amongst the remaining owners. But someone told me that I’m wrong.

Does my brother now own two-thirds of the property? Or, do we each own a half?

A: You need to talk with a local real estate attorney to find out if the quit claim deed is valid and if it transferred your mom’s property rights lawfully to your brother alone or to all of the owners equally.

Often, quit claims deeds are not filled out correctly or recorded properly. Let’s hope that’s the case here.

If the quit claim deed was filed legitimately, your brother could own some of the property or even all of the property. You may be able to contest your mom’s transfer to him if she was coerced into signing the quit claim deed, especially if you can prove your mother was ill.

What your brother did may not have been right. But first you have to determine what he did and how it affects you. You should get a copy of the quit claim deed. Frequently, you can go to the local municipal office (often called the “recorder of deeds”) in which property documents are recorded and request a copy of the document.

Once you see the document, you might be able to tell if what your brother did. If the deed says that your mom transferred her interest to him, which would mean that he might claim ownership of the entire property.

If the deed says that she conveyed a one-third interest to him, he might claim ownership of one-third of the property as a result of the deed and might have a claim to more as a result of any will your mom had or under state law as a result of your mom’s death.

So, hire the best attorney you can. You might need one.


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